The four interviews were intended to focus on immigration reform, but the absence of any inquiry related to the high-profile court case surprised even the White House.

“The President was prepared to answer questions on [the Zimmerman verdict] and any other topic,” White House press secretary Jay Carney told POLITICO while confirming that there were no preconditions for the interviews.

Television industry executives also expressed surprise: “It’s unbelievable that any journalist with access to the President this week wouldn’t ask the first African-American president about his reaction to the verdict,” said one D.C.-based executive.